Adam Balbo "Big Kid Now" (Independent 2008)
Engaging lo-fi anti-folk that hints at brilliance, maybe...
“Big Kid Now” is a resolutely lo fi record. It takes the DIY aesthetic of anti-folk to its heart: crude and scratchy acoustic guitars are complimented by Casio melodies, over which Adam Balbo sings in a wry and apathetic drawl stories of getting ketchup stains shaped like the state of Missouri on your shirt, a monkey making his breakfast, and the embarrassment attached to stepping in a pile of dog poo.
Over its eighteen minutes “Big Kid Now” packs in an impressive array of the mundane and the goofy, but imbues it all with a strange and disaffected melancholy, droll and laconic. The narrator of “Stain On My Shirt” shares a back and forth commentary with a girl who speaks with a bored and almost spaced out inflection, it’s hard to tell if she’s being serious or not, and it’s a sensation that’s true of the record as a whole: is it just a bit of fun, a record for the sake of a record, or a smart comment on the over earnestness and self aggrandising nature of modern indie?
Whatever the answer, “Big Kid Now” is undeniably a great pleasure to listen to. It’s sweet and inventive, funny and engaging, possessed of a ramshackle charm. It sticks very much to the side of the road, shying away from all the Grand Themes preoccupying music at large to concern itself with trivialities and minutiae: as Balbo sings on “Pie or Soup”: “...If you can’t deliver me from evil, how about a pizza?...”
Date review added: Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Reviewer: Alex Cleary
Related web link: Artist's Myspace Page